Atlas Montane - Women's Review
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Atlas Montane - Women's
$199.93 at REI
$219.95 at REI
$191.99 at Amazon
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$195.93 at REI
|Pros||Good traction, excellent binding system, heel lift, good for lightly packed terrain, great for technical terrain||Comfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, quiet||Easy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding system||Affordable, stellar traction, wide fit bindings||Amazing traction, comfortable bindings, versatile fit, ascent heel|
|Cons||Tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wide, flotation in deep snow is not great||Extra rotation causes shin impact, mediocre flotation on fresh snow||Subpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel lift||Loud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps can flow around a little||Poor floatation, difficult to walk backward and side-step, bindings take a moment to get used to|
|Bottom Line||This is a well-rounded and solidly performing snowshoe for all kinds of terrain and objectives||With its outstandingly comfortable binding system, decent floatation, and stellar traction, this snowshoe is perfect for casual use||A snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra traction||This affordable shoe is equipped with stellar traction and versatile bindings, making it a wonderful pick for varied terrain levels and snow types||A flexible and comfortable snowshoe with incredible traction, perfect for icy packed conditions|
|Rating Categories||Atlas Montane - Wom...||Tubbs Wilderness -...||Crescent Moon Leadv...||MSR Evo Trail Snows...||TSL Symbioz Elite -...|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Atlas Montane - Wom...||Tubbs Wilderness -...||Crescent Moon Leadv...||MSR Evo Trail Snows...||TSL Symbioz Elite -...|
|Uses||All terrain||Day hiking||Technical mountain terrain and packed snow||Flat and variable rolling terrain||Technical mountain terrain and packed snow|
|Optimum Weight Load (per size)||23": 80-160 lbs
27": 120-200+ lbs
|21": 80-150 lbs
25": 120-200 lbs
30": 170-250 lbs
|Up to 200 lbs||180 lbs||20.5": 65 - 180 lbs
23.5": 110 - 260 lbs
27": 150 - 300 lbs
|Weight (per pair)||4.3 lbs||4.1 lbs||4.2 lbs||4.0 lbs||4.2 lbs|
|Binding System||Wrapp Swift Binding||Quick-Fit Binding||Cam buckle quick pull loop and ratchet heel strap||Paraglide||Symbioz telescopic bindings|
|Crampon||All-Trac Toe Crampon||Cobra Toe Crampon
Tubbs Heel Crampon
|3 stainless steel crampon system featuring the climbing "toe" claw design||Steel traction rails||Stainless steel|
|Frame Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Martensitic steel||Composite|
|Surface Area (for tested size)||182.7 in²||228.0 in²||192.9 in²||174.5 in² without tails, 220 in² with||221.4 in²|
|Dimensions||8" x 27"||9" x 30"||9.5" x 29"||8" x 22"||27" x 8.5"|
|Flotation Tails Available?||No||No||No||Yes, 6"||No|
|Load with Tails (per size)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Up to 250 lbs||N/A|
|Men's and Women's Versions?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Unisex||Unisex|
|Sizes Available||23", 27"||21", 25", 30"||29"||22"||20.5", 23.5", 27"|
|Size Tested||27"||25"||29"||22" plus 6" add-on tails||27"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Fun, functional, and easy to use — that's the Montane. This is an all-around great snowshoe with a fantastic binding system (one of our favorites), sticky traction, and enough flotation for more casual terrain and packed snow.
We tested the Montane in the 27" length, the largest of three sizes available. This is about average for our tested models, but the curves of this teardrop-shaped snowshoe make the footprint a little smaller. This is great for stride ergonomics but hinders the float on particularly deep snow, rendering the Montane a better option for well-packed trails and less ideal for the backcountry.
Feeling secure on technical terrain is no problem in the Montane. The toe crampon is multi-directional with wide teeth, and two traction rails run parallel down the footbed to help provide solid footing on steep slopes and icy patches. A few options in our review feel grippier and are better suited to advanced terrain, but the Montane is more than adequate for most situations.
The Montane is ever-so-slightly wider across the ball of the foot than most snowshoes, and, believe it or not, we could feel that while walking. Every once in a while, our testers would knock one foot into the other if they weren't paying attention. While this is something to keep in mind when deciding on your purchase, every body is shaped differently — you may not need to adjust your gait whatsoever. Our adjustments were minor, though noticeable, compared to other models in this review.
The Montane also has a fixed binding system, which means the tail of the shoe closely follows the natural movement of the foot when walking. This can cause the snowshoe to feel marginally heavier for some users due to the back flipping up. It also tends to throw a lot of snow up onto the back of the legs.
Ease of Use
A big aspect of a pleasant-to-use snowshoe is a good binding system, and that's one area where the Montane has no problem shining brightly. The "positive toe locator" makes it easy to place the foot correctly, and the straps tighten up and release with a simple pull of a loop. The back heel belt straps everything down securely with an easy pull; no funny body angles or awkward yanking required. The fixed binding system has a different feel when walking then a full rotation one, but the learning curve is fast and straightforward.
The binding on the Montane feels highly secure and robust. It has strong webbing, a toe cage on the front, and a well-functioning pull strap system around the heel with a retainer clip that effectively houses the excess strap length. This is a highly comfortable binding system. There's arch support, and the straps cinch down evenly and uniformly with no pinch points.
Should You Buy the Atlas Montane?
The Montane rings up at a very fair price. It has a stellar binding system, impressive traction, okay float, and heel lifts for steep climbing. Fit for technical hiking and variable mountainous terrain, the Montane is a solid choice if you want to get technical without completely breaking the bank.
What Other Snowshoes Should You Consider?
If you like the spring-loaded suspension of the Atlas Montane, you'll love the Atlas Run. That being said, the Run is strictly for running and won't do much on steep slopes or deep drifts. If you want solid float, the MSR Lightning Ascent or the Atlas Range-MTN will be more up your alley. Finally, if you're looking for a snowshoe that is super easy to walk in, the exaggerated teardrop shape of the Crescent Moon Leadville 29 is sure to have you walking naturally.
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